ABET’s Fiber Floor Has a Foothold on Payless Shoes

ABET LAMINATI’s Fiber floor has become the surfacing solution for Payless Shoe’s new upscale venues. The stores, nicknamed “Fashion Labs,” are opening their doors to chic addresses like New York City’s, Fifth Ave., Illinois’ Woodfield Mall and San Francisco’s elite streets. And all those high heels in high-end stores will be walking on ABET LAMINATI’s Fiber floor, made of recycled coffee bean bags and industrial strength laminate. Every once in a while a coffee bean will be inadvertently ground with the bags to create a fiber rich texture. It’s a commercially rated, high pressure laminate floor (HPL) with an added bonus. The recycled jute fibers have a natural texture that’s visual and tactile as opposed to a flat printed pattern applied by a press plate. All these qualities make the textured, tongue and groove floor perfect for retail foot traffic.

“I specified the Abet Laminati Fiber floor because not only was I looking for a tongue and groove product, but I wanted one that had unique color options and didn’t try to emulate a wood flooring,” states Alexandra Ramsden, associate at Callison Architecture. “Our client feels that the flooring looks great and strongly supports the “fashion lab” concept of Payless.”

The Fiber floor not only looks great it’s also extremely durable. It‘s a high pressure laminate floating system engineered for commercial flooring applications. The floor offers a high density and water resistant fiberboard core for a maximum level of resistance against foot traffic, spillage and indentation marks and resists most staining and chemical agents and even cigarette burns.

Suitable for general commercial traffic, it has received the European Norm AC4 classification for durability. This is based on a scale of 1 to 5 where 5 is the hardest surface. The abrasion resistance was tested by NEMA LD3-2000 which states the floor endured over 10,000 revolutions on the tabor abrasion machine before any change to the surface was evident. This is equivalent to a 9 on a scale of 1-10 where 10 is the highest rating for abrasion resistance.

High Pressure Laminate vs. Direct Pressure Laminate

ABET LAMINATI commercial flooring has a high pressure laminate surface bonded to a high density fiberboard. High pressure laminate floors have many advantages over direct pressure (most other laminate floors). One advantage is better wear resistance since high pressure laminate flooring is molded at 1400psi pressure versus 300 to 500psi pressure for direct pressure laminate flooring. HPL flooring has better load properties because of the thicker surface laminate. It has better edge resistance properties because of a thicker laminate surface. It has better heat resistance due to the surface laminate’s insulating properties and better impact resistance resulting from a 0.028” surface compared to the 0.007” – 0.0010” surface on direct pressure laminate flooring. ABET’s HPL flooring is 5/16 inches thick. Plank size measures 7 7/16” wide x 47 3/16” long.

Installation

ABET LAMINATI’s commercial laminate floor is designed for floated installations only. This means the floor is secured only to itself via tongue and groove connection. A PVA wood glue, supplied by ABET, is inserted into the groove during the installation process for superior bonding and sealing, which is necessary in commercial projects. The floated system uses a sound deadening underlayment that also provides a vapor barrier to the sub-floor protecting the laminate floor from potential hydrostatic pressure problems. Additionally, the underlayment cushion adds comfort to those standing or walking on the floor. Floated floors are ideal when retrofitting atop previous flooring materials such as vinyl and ceramic, and typically require less preparation than glue down or mortar down products.

It is important to place close attention to contraction and expansion issues. Floated systems move with changes in humidity as an entire floor. Expanses that exceed 30 feet of width and 40 feet of length will need to be divided using expansion moldings, which ABET supplies. ABET will aid the specifier or contractor in determining proper placement and transition type. ABET offers a range of low profile aluminum moldings that match many decors.

Life Cycle Assessment

ABET LAMINATI posts its “LCA” or “Life Cycle Assessment” document on the www.abetlaminati.com web site. This document details the environmental effects of the high pressure laminate panels. HPL and HPL elements do not deplete biotic resources like wood, as their lifetime is longer than cultivated forests need to grow. ABET LAMINATI uses only core and paper suppliers that use “FSC” or “Forestry Stewardship Council,” (www.fsc.org) supplied raw materials. As for off-gassing, HPL flooring VOC emissions equal .01ppm or less (LEED requires less than .05ppm). This is because when the laminate is adhered to fiberboard, core emissions are encapsulated and VOC emissions are reduced to the level of natural wood. Over the floor’s 10 year minimum guaranteed commercial life, no sanding and resurfacing is required, which means no further VOC’s or waste is created. No VOC cleaning products are necessary for standard maintenance. Since high pressure laminates use safe thermoset plastics such as melamine and phenol, without glue down adhesives, the material can be safely incinerated in local waste-to-energy reclamation programs. Many waste management and governments are paying closer attention to how biomass can reduce the need of fossil fuel for energy production and avert decaying materials from landfills, reducing methane release into the atmosphere – the greatest greenhouse gas. High pressure laminate flooring and panels can recover up to 95% of its initial production energy via waste to energy incineration.

Maintenance and Care

One of the best features of laminate flooring is the lack of maintenance required to keep a beautiful and clean floor. Primarily, sweeping and vacuuming, and an occasional damp mopping with an ammonia or vinegar (acetic acid) and water mixture will be necessary. Difficult to remove stains can be cleaned with acetone, isopropyl alcohol or mineral spirits. Excessive amounts of water should not be used. No waxing, polishing or buffing of the floor is recommended. Mechanical floor cleaners, abrasive pads, scouring powders or cleaners are not recommended as they may permanently dull or scratch the laminate surface. Harsh chemicals such as toilet cleaner, drain cleaner, oven cleaners, acids or strong alkali chemicals may etch or discolor the surface. In summary, sweeping, vacuuming and damp mopping are the best ways to clean a laminate floor.

To date ABET’s Fiber floor has been used in over a dozen Payless Shoe stores and 20 more are planned for 2007. “ABET LAMINATI is thrilled to be a part of the new Payless Shoe stores,” states Tony Damiano, president of ABET, Inc. “Our fiber floor not only looks great, it can withstand heavy foot traffic day after day. We are looking forward to having a “foothold” in all the new Payless stores.”

The Fiber floor is available with lead time in six colors including natural beige, brown, yellow, gray, light green and dark green. For samples visit www.abetlaminati.com or call 800-228-2238.

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